Two Plead Guilty to Federal Wire Fraud Connected to Scheme to Defraud The Department of Veteran Affairs
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that JAMES “JAY” SINYARD, age 61, and MARY “GIGI” SINYARD, age 58, have each pled guilty in federal court relating to their roles in a wire fraud scheme to defraud the Department of Veterans Affairs.
JAMES SINYARD and MARY SINYARD pled guilty on May 18, 2023 before Chief U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown to a one count bill of information charging them with wire fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343.
According to the bill of information, VetAttend of Jackson was located in Jackson, Mississippi. Beginning on or about April 2013 and continuing until at least December 2020, the SINYARDS did knowingly devise a scheme to defraud the Department of Veterans Affairs by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, by creating false affidavits claiming services had been provided by VetAttend to veterans in need of home aid and attendance.
To effectuate this scheme, the SINYARDs submitted over one hundred applications for veterans and/or their surviving spouses to the Department of Veterans Affairs, falsely indicating that VetAttend of Jackson was already providing services to these veterans. As a result of these fictitious affidavits, from approximately August 2014 to approximately December 2020, the VA issued funds to over 70 veterans and/or their surviving spouses from whom VetAttend of Jackson misappropriated approximately $2,136,329.68 in fraudulent funds relating to the false affidavits of services provided.
“Today’s guilty plea sends a clear message to those who would exploit veterans to commit fraud that they will be investigated and held accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge Kris Raper with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s South-Central Field Office.
The Court set sentencing of JAMES SINYARD and MARY SINYARD for September 28, 2023.
Each defendant faces a possible maximum term of imprisonment of twenty years, up to a $250,000 fine, up to three (3) years supervised release, and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee .
The U.S. Attorney’s Office praised the work of the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General.
The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn McHugh, Financial Crimes Unit.
Community Outreach Coordinator
U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Louisiana
Updated May 24, 2023